President Emmanuel Macron covered a wide array of topics and challenges facing France in the coming years as he addressed the French diplomatic corps on the occasion of the annual conference for the 163 ambassadors and 15 delegates to international organizations.
He dedicated a segment to Iran when discussing France’s commitments to countries in the Middle East and the broader Eastern region, particularly in the context of counterterrorism efforts.
Furthermore, it appears that the issue of the four detained French individuals - Macron mistakenly mentioned six detainees twice in his speech - whom France regards as “state hostages,” continues to cast a shadow over the relations between Paris and Tehran.
Macron’s firm stance regarding the hostage situation is not limited to that aspect alone; it also extends to Iran’s nuclear activities and its regional policies, which Paris still describes as “destabilizing.”
This characterization persists despite the recent rapprochement between Tehran and several regional capitals.
Macron affirmed that his country’s policy toward Iran is “clear and not tainted by any weakness.”
The president did not hesitate to express his satisfaction with “the progress achieved in recent weeks,” referring to the agreement reached between the US and Tehran last month concerning the release of five dual-national American citizens.
However, based on his experience, Macron conveyed that he wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the agreement.
As for the case of the four French individuals detained in Iran, Macron sternly urged Tehran to release them, asserting that “nothing justifies their detention in prisons under unacceptable conditions,” and their imprisonment is an “arbitrary act.”
He emphasized that Paris will persist in both demanding and working towards their release.
This isn't the first time that Paris has made such a request.
However, the prevailing belief in France is that Tehran is seeking a quid pro quo, similar to what recently transpired with Belgium, where Tehran released its citizen who was working in the humanitarian field in Iran in exchange for the release of Assadollah Assadi.
Assadi, an Iranian diplomat accredited in Austria, was apprehended in Germany and handed over to Belgium, where he was tried and sentenced to prison.